On March 8, 1869, the first Union Pacific engine steamed into the city on the heels of tracklayers on their way to Promontory and eventual joining with the Central Pacific. Ogden’s romance with the railroading began. Four cities, Corinne, Promontory, Uintah, and Ogden, competed with each other for the right be the junction for railroad travel in the Intermountain West. After quickly disqualifying the others, Corinne and Ogden continued the competition for the "Junction City" title until Brigham Young donated several hundred acres of land to the two railroads demanding that they build the yards and station in Ogden.
The first station, built in 1869, was a two-story wooden frame building painted fire-engine red built on a mud flat on the banks of the Weber River. The building soon became inadequate, being also the facility for the narrow gauge Utah Central Railroad (later Oregon Short Line) and the narrow gauge Rio Grande Western (later Denver and Rio Grande Western). Locals complained about the quarter mile of wood boardwalk required to traverse the swampy ground to reach the station.
In 1889, Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad Companies organized the jointly-owned Ogden Union Railway and Depot Co. to oversee the construction and management of a new Union Station. It was considerably larger, two stories, and constructed of brick. Designed in the Romanesque style, with a large clock tower in the center, this building served the needs of the railroad, contained 33 hotel rooms a restaurant, barbershop and other conveniences needed by the traveler.
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